Relationship the Jamaica Constabulary Force

It is to be noted that the term “prosecution” not only encompasses the Crown Counsel of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution or the Clerk of the Courts at the various Resident Magistrate’s Courts, but also extends to the Investigator - the Officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and any expert activity involved in assisting the prosecutor such as forensic relevant pathologist, psychiatrist or accountant.

In a modern criminal justice context, it is impossible to adequately investigate and prosecute complex drug, murder, money laundering, corruption, terrorism cases etc without close and early cooperation between the police and prosecutor. One cannot therefore overemphasized the need for a multi-agency approach.  In fact, that kind of approach is now the gold standard for investigations particularly with regard to all serious and organised crime type cases

The role of the prosecutor was well defined by Detective Chief Superintendent Rod Harvey of the New South Wales Police Service, who said:

“The Director prosecutes. The police (and some other agencies) investigate. The Director has no investigative function. The Director advises investigators in relation to the sufficiency of evidence to support nominated charges and the appropriateness of charges; but not in relation to operational issues, the conduct of investigations or the exercise of police or agency powers. (1996, 5)

While the advisory capacity of prosecutors vis à vis the police is obvious, case law authority[1] makes it clear that prosecutors are first and foremost ministers of justice assisting in the administration of justice. Of necessity therefore coupled with the responsibility to advise the police, prosecutors act as a first line of legal supervision over the actions of police even before cases become subject to the jurisdiction of the courts.

(a) Police:

The responsibilities of the police are outlined in Section 13 of the Constabulary Force Act as follows:

“The duties of the Police under this act shall be to keep the watch by day and night; to preserve the peace; to detect crime; apprehend or summon before a Justice, persons found committing any offence, or whom they reasonably suspect of having committed any offence; to serve and execute all summonses, warrants, subpoenas, notices and criminal process issued by any Justice in a criminal matter, and to do and perform all duties appertaining to the office of Constable.”

Based on that legislative mandate the police have defined their role in a mission statement as follows:

“The Mission of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and its Auxiliaries is to Serve, Protect and Reassure the people in Jamaica through the delivery of impartial and professional Services aimed at maintenance of law and order, protection of life and property, prevention and detection of crime and the preservation of peace.”[2]

(b) Guidelines Governing Police/Prosecutor Co-Operation in Practice:

To formalise the advisory and supervisory[3] relationship between prosecutors and the police, in 1964 two years after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was established under Jamaica’s Constitution, the then DPP issued directions to the police concerning the types of matters which should be forwarded to him for his directions. These directions were published in Force Orders[4] dated December 3, 1964.

The directions invite the submission of specific types of cases that are prima facie challenging to investigate but also essentially indicate that any matter where the police require the DPP’s intervention should be submitted for advice. Over the years as criminals have become more sophisticated and the nature of crime routinely more complex, ever increasing numbers and types of cases are being referred to the Office of the DPP for rulings and advice.

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